As the European Union expands its already-tough sanctions against Libya, reports suggest that the nation's collapsing economy is hurting rebel forces more than Moammar Gadhafi himself. The Washington Post says that Gadhafi's government, drawing on its experience in the 1990s, is coping with the international sanctions with some success, while the rebels are struggling to stay afloat economically as the eastern oil fields remain offline amid the fighting. Are the sanctions backfiring?
Remember Iraq? Sanctions are a dead end: It looks like the "significant effect" the sanctions are having in Libya is "not the effect the West intended," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Well, no surprise there. Saddam Hussein survived 12 years of "massive sanctions." And in Libya's case, "the sanctions are actually working against regime change to a certain degree, by handcuffing the rebels and demoralizing the population under their control."
"Sanctions on Libya really starting to hurt ..."
Give the sanctions time: Gadhafi outlasted the 1990s U.N. sanctions, "but I don't see him surviving this," says Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba at Modern Ghana. Without the economic lifeline of oil sales, it's "just a matter of time before his government falls." And though Gadhafi's aging Russian-made military equipment is better than what the rebels have, it can only survive so long without foreign servicing.
"How Africa will remember Gadhafi when he goes soon"
But time is running out for both sides: "The opposition leaders in Benghazi hope that time is on their side and that the increasingly isolated regime will crumble from within," says Patrick Cockburn in The Independent. And "possibly they are right." But so far they've been inept at "organizing a functioning government," which partly explains the rebels' economic woes. And the longer this war drags on, the worse that predicament will get.
"Libya's parallels with Iraq under Saddam are truly ominous"